Why is it that in the last moments of a game the crowd bites its nails or the players’ hands begin to shake? Why is it that in a packed auditorium, the harmonious and masterful musician always walks solemnly and fearfully towards the center? Why is it that students, who know they have fully grasped concepts, continue to waste valuable sleep staying up studying? Why is it that young children find it difficult to express themselves in front of crowds larger than two? These circumstances all share catalysts of emotion, specifically anxiety.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a weird feeling. There is no clear cut way to explain it, but when you feel it, your blood beats at more rapid paces, you begin to heat up from within, and you can hear a throbbing pulse everywhere in your body. Because of this, anxiety no longer is an emotion, but a physical, tangible reality. Think about it. When have you felt anxiety? Sporting events, musical concerts/recitals, educational tests, presentations, you name it. All of the prior examples that I have given in which anxiety is popularly found all share a common aspect: pressure. Have you ever heard of anyone who was “cracked” under pressure? Sometimes, the stress of a situation can get to you. You hear about it all the time. A sports star who unable to cope with overwhelming anxiety and stress which played a major role in his underwhelming performance. The aspiring musician who, under the spotlight, shakily and poorly played an otherwise beautiful sonata. The tired and fidgety scholar who ended up scoring terribly on his test due to inability to think clearly. The nervous, inexperienced first grader who began crying during her oral presentation on current events. Anxiety is something that is unavoidable, and many times, unwanted and unnecessary. However, the adrenaline rush that comes with it is something that is beneficial as well.
Anxiety can hurt, but also help people because it motivates them. When you feel anxiety, what you are really feeling is the fear of failure. Many times, this fear of failure is what holds somebody back from becoming great, but many times, being nervous reaffirms one’s resolve. It reaffirms one the belief in their motive and how, despite the possibility of failure, they are willing to bet it all. You see these types of stories all around too. The next game, under the same doubtful fans, that sports star shines the brightest and is able to overcome his restlessness in order to lead his team to victory. The critiqued musician rebounds from his failure and creates a beautiful melody to play for his supporters. The student vows to raise his grade and sets the curve on the following three tests. The young first grader uses her current event speeches to now bring the whole class to tears, not just herself. Still, these stories are false. It would be impossible to completely overcome anxiety because, without it, you would easily lose your motive and reason for doing what gives you anxiety. People cannot overcome this feeling, as anxiety is not only present on a sentimental level but a physical one as well. People, rather, use their anxiety to empower them and propel them to new heights, ultimately conquering their fear of failure and facing their newly created reality of opportunities. They live for the thrill. And this thrill is something that can brew a storm within a paradise, but also present an oasis within a drought. It is for these reasons that anxiety truly is a weird feeling.
~ Samuel Le